From old favourites, to live comedy, to theatre, to the newest garage band on the scene, record stores have it all. Maybe it has been the aesthetic of owning an album on vinyl or the fact nothing quite beats the kind of playback of a turntable, but it is clear that vinyl is more than just a thing of the past. It is not a secret how hard the music industry has been hit during the Coronavirus pandemic, and record stores have been no exception to this. Many local record stores rely heavily on foot traffic customers which, after the closing of non-essential businesses, was enough to strike a blow to the shops. Unfortunately, store closure alone was not the entirety of the damage. Something that has become a treasured tradition of all music lovers in recent years is Record Store Day. Normally held once year, the event is a celebration of music and the local stores that have played a part in creating the community lifeblood around it. The day is also a significant source of income for these shops and, in what has been an already difficult year for them, the cancellation of the original April 18th date has been devastating.
However, much like vinyl itself, local record stores are resilient enough to stay alive. As it seems, the state of affairs tend to change weekly in 2020. Record Store Day knew they had to do something to try and mend a bit of the damage and unpredictability brought by this year. The solution? A series of mini record store days over the next several months. August 29th, September 26th, and October 24th will function as record store days in an adapted fashion with special record store day releases as usual, but times three! To really help out record stores, though, there still remains one key factor: you. Think about visiting your local record stores on these days or really just any day, as the stores have started to reopen, carefully, with social distance measures put in place. Still wary of visiting stores or are worried about coming close to other people? Shop online! While not all stores have been able to make the jump, many have grown their online presence immensely in the last few months. Check to see if your local record stores have a website with more information about it, or if they’re using a third-party source such as Depop or Discogs, to sell.
For many great artists and life-long music enthusiasts, record stores are where their love of music began. In a similar way to grassroot venues, record stores have ignited the flame and carried a tune in people’s souls for decades. It has been the place to come and rediscover the past and experience the new, which makes it unique as far as shops go. Most aspects of the music industry right now are in danger of not only being bankrupt but forgotten. The arts have often been seen as a nicety but for almost everyone, whether they realise it or not, it has been such a transformative part of their lives. So keep talking about music and keep supporting local stores and venues in any way you can. It is the least to give back after all we’ve gotten from it.
Editor's Note: Follow along with Bri and I as we take you through our own personal Record Store Days over on the Buzzkill Instagram!